From Morinville to Cambodia

by Lucie Roy

Dr. Kim Bugera of Capital Vision Care-Morinville spoke at the Rotary Club of Morinville Wednesday and told Rotarians she is leaving on another trip. – this time it is to Cambodia for a Vision Care Outreach in Kampong Cham.

“Cambodia is really exciting, so many places in the world you can go but the reason I am inspired by Cambodia is because Cambodia, if you know the history of it, when all the political stuff happened back in the 70s, they actually killed people that wore glasses because they were academic,” Bugera said.

“There is no optometry or any kind of eye care in the country, nowhere or little. They have technicians that will do refraction but it is not super scientific or worldly if you will.”

Bugera said it has been documented by the World Health Organization as one of the biggest challenges for Cambodia – addressing the problem of vision care.

Bugera said the Brian Holden Vision Institute Foundation from Australia, also known as Optometry Giving Sight, has partnered with Canadian Vision Care (CVS) to go into Cambodia to try to look at whether they can build a school for them, as they did in Malawi, and Jamaica and the Eye Train in the Philippines. Malawi was the third one.

The doctor said they have the tools and ability to do it.

Bugera’s trip is a fact-finding trip to see if it will work.

They have also partnered with a newly founded Kampong Cham Rotary Club in Cambodia that was set up by a Calgary Rotary Club. The new club was just chartered this year and their members will serve as interpreters.

“It is an adventure,” Bugera said. “We are flying into Phenom Penh and going down the Mekong River into a little community on the side of the river.”

They are taking nine optometrists and nine kids on the trip.

Bugera said both her and her husband, Peter Laansoo, who is also an optometrist, have a firm belief that their kids should learn how to give back.

They are bringing their children, making it a family trip so that other people could bring their kids and then they can all be inspired to do something good.

They are going to help out in the clinic.

Bugera said hopefully it turns into something much bigger than just this one trip for vision outreach.

“We never know but it is going to be an adventure,” she said.

Bugera also provided a slide presentation on the 2018 trip to Malawi and some funny stories of bloopers, lost luggage, being detained at customs and accommodations.

Also in attendance at Rotary Club of Morinville on Wednesday for the presentation was Lynn King, President of the St Albert Rotary Club.

She presented the St Albert Rotary Club banner to the Rotary Club of Morinville, with President Milissa Kilian accepting on behalf of the club.

Dr. Kim Bugera and President Milissa Kilian.

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